Sunderland journalist remains at centre of of the World phone hacking controversy

Neville Thurlbeck

Neville Thurlbeck

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NEVILLE Thurlbeck has heaped more pressure on his former boss James Murdoch.

During yesterday’s Commons Culture Media and Sport select committee hearing, MP Tom Watson revealed a “confidential” conversation with the former News of the World chief reporter, who is originally from Sunderland and has family in the city.

It came as News Corporation chairman James Murdoch denied giving “disingenuous” evidence to the inquiry into phone hacking.

He insisted he did not know that until recently the illegal practice went beyond a lone reporter.

Questioning centred on a piece of evidence called the “for Neville email,” which contained transcripts of voicemail messages revealing that football union boss Gordon Taylor’s phone was hacked.

Mr Murdoch denied being shown a copy of the email during a June 2008 meeting with lawyer Tom Crone.

He also said he was not told about the nature of the email nor of “evidence or suspicion of wider spread wrongdoing”.

In his questioning, Mr Watson revealed he had spoken to Mr Thurlbeck about the affair, and that Mr Thurlbeck, who denied receiving the original email and that he was involved in hacking, feared losing his job when told it had to be shown to Mr Murdoch.